Remember when Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June this year that it would require developers to disclose to customers the privacy practices of their apps by the end of the year? Today, app privacy shortcuts will appear in all Apple app stores, including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The privacy methodology will be presented in the form of a summary that appears on their app’s product pages in the App Store.
The new rules must be followed by those developers who want to submit a new app to the App Store or update the existing one.
But all the information collected is personal information tied to your identity through your account in the application, your device, or other data.
So, let’s look at what data applications can collect today:
- personal contact information (such as an address, email, telephone, etc.);
- health and fitness information (for example, from the Clinical Health Records API, HealthKit API, MovementDisorderAPIs, or health-related human research);
- financial information (such as billing and credit information);
- location (precise or rough);
- content (e.g., emails, audio, texts, gameplay, etc.);
- browsing and search history;
- and much more.
The company implies that the developers will talk about what data the application collects and how this data will be used. It is not uncommon for the collected data to be passed on to a third party to display targeted ads in an app, using the data for retargeting users in other apps, measuring ad performance, etc.
The new requirements will not include feedback forms or customer service requests. But otherwise, the developers are forced to reveal absolutely about the information that the application collects. Notably, Apple apps that are not in the App Store will also have privacy labels posted online.
The decision to implement such transparency for users is a big step. This year, we have seen the US antitrust committee and Big Tech companies debate for hours over whether they are profiting from users’ personal information.
Although there are pitfalls in this matter, and if you look deeper into the case, you can see that Apple is promoting its policy in advertising technology. As an example, the company is forcing the Adtech industry to switch from IDFA to its SKAdNetwork. Time will tell how regulators will react to this. Will they believe the App Store is exhibiting anti-competitive behavior towards third parties?
In the meantime, Apple has relieved regulatory pressure by cutting App Store fees to 15% for developers earning less than $ 1 million.
It’s hard to predict consumer reactions to new privacy labels right now. There is a chance that applications that collect too much data will see a decrease in user activity, as many users are quite careful and try to avoid such software products.
As a company in which mobile development is a mainstream business, we have vast experience creating applications and submitting them in the App Store. We recently published an article based on our expertise in preparing your application for submitting in the App Store.